Reaching the summit of îmân

Question: Can we reach the summit of îmân [faith, belief] easily by reading many articles proving the existence of Allahu ta’âlâ?
You cannot reach the summit of îmân by way of reading such articles. Our Master the Prophet “alaihis-salâm” explained how one could ascend the summit of îmân:
(Doing the following things elevates one’s îmân to the topmost point:
1. To show patience 
(sabr) in the face of all that Allah has ordained,
2. To have satisfaction and pleasure 
(ridhâ’) over Divine Decree,
3. To put your full trust 
(tawakkul) in Allah,
4. To submit  
(taslîm) to Him completely.) [Abû Nu’aym]

Now let us clarify them briefly one by one:

Patience (sabr)
You cannot manage to carry out a fard or avoid a harâm without having patience. When our Master the Prophet was asked what the îmân was, he declared, “It is patience” (Daylamî).

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.

It is reported in three hadîth-i sharîfs:
(The place of patience in îmân is like the place of the head in the body.) [Daylamî]

(Allah will be pleased with a born slave who practises patience.)[Daylamî]

(He who has patience and ikhlâs [sincerity; doing everything for Allah’s sake] will be awarded Paradise.) [Tabarânî]

In addition to them, it is purported in three âyat-i karîmas:
(The patient will be rewarded without measure.) [Sûrat-uz-Zumar 10]

(Give glad tidings [of My Bestowal] to the patient!) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara 155]

(Vie with others in showing patience!) [Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân 200]

Hadrat Khidir said, “I have attained ‘ilm-i ladun thanks to my patience in avoiding harâms.”

Being content (ridhâ) with Divine Decree
Displaying complete contentment upon what comes from Allah is a great blessing for a person. In connection with this topic, the following hadîth-i sharîfs say:
(Having ridhâ’ over Divine Decree is a sign of felicity.) [Tirmidhî]

(He who does these three things will have the qualities beneficial to him both in this world and in the next: ridhâ’ over Divine Decree, forbearance in afflictions, making du’â in times of ease.) [Daylamî]

(He who does these three things will become one of the forty awliyâ: ridhâ over Divine Decree, forbearance in avoiding harâms, and feeling hatred for the sake of Allah.) 

(These three things are signs of îmân: showing patience in times of adversity, rendering your gratitude for blessings, and being content with Allah’s Decree.) [Ihyâ]

(Allahu ta’âlâ declared: If anyone is not content with My qadâ and qadar and disapproves of them and is not patient with the disasters which I send, let him look for another Rabb besides Me!)

The following prayer was reported to be one of the best prayers, “O my Rabb! Make me one of those who are content with Your qadâ and qadar, who endure patiently disasters coming from You, and who render their gratitude for Your blessings.”

Reliance (tawakkul) on Allah
To have tawakkul [putting your trust in Allah] is fard. As a matter of fact, it is purported in the Qur’ân al-karîm:
(If you have îmân, put your tawakkul in Allah.) [Sûrat-ul-Mâida 23]

(If a person puts his tawakkul in Allah, He is sufficient for him.)[Sûrat-ut-Talaq 3]

(Allah likes those who have tawakkul.) [Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân 159]

The highest grade is to attain Allah’s love. “Hasbiyallah” means “Allah suffices for me.” When Hadrat Ibrâhîm (‘alaihis-salâm) was put on the catapult and was about to be hurled into the fire, he said, “Hasbiyallah wa ni’mal wakîl,” and he was saved. Allahu ta’âla declared to Hadrat Dâwud (‘alaihis-salâm): “If a person gives up hope of everything and puts his trust in Me only, I shall certainly rescue him even if all the beings on earth and in heaven strive to harm and deceive him. However, if a person puts his trust in a creature instead of Me, I shall impede all the causes of his success but facilitate all the causes of his failure” [Ibni ‘Asâkir].

Do not lean against a tree, for it withers; do not lean on man, for he dies.

Submission (taslîm) to Allah
Submission means being a slave and serving with utter faithfulness and obedience. Submission to Allah means being a slave to Him and being ever ready to do all His orders. In fact, the meaning of the word Muslim is “a person who has surrendered to Allahu ta’âlâ”. Submission is ordered in the Qur’ân al-karîm, too:
(Say: “We have surrendered only to Allah.”) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara 136]

(Perform namâz in submission to the Lord of the worlds.) [Sûrat-ul-An’âm 71-72]

Balkis, the queen of Sheba, expressed her îmân as follows: “I have submitted to the Lord of the worlds” (Sûrat-un-Naml 44).

A hadîth-i sharîf reads:
(These five things are from îmân: submission to Allah, contentment with His qadar, entrusting your affairs to Allah, reliance on Him, and practising patience in times of disasters.)[Bazzâr]

Those who put the foregoing into practice will reach the summit of îmân.

Do we have a perfect îmân (îmân-i kâmil)?
Can we sense in any way that we have reached maturity in îmân [faith, belief]?
Yes, there are some distinctive features of it. Taking them into account, you can judge whether your faith is perfect or not. For example, Hadrat Hasan bin Muhammad bin Hasan states:

“He who does these three things has a perfect faith:
1. He loves but this love of his does not mislead him into doing improper deeds,
2. He becomes angry but his anger does not cause him to abandon the truth,
3. He does not obtain anything through ill-gotten means, even when he has the power to do so.”

The Ashâb-i kirâm said, “We do not consider a person who is not patient with troubles caused by people to be a person with a perfect faith.”

The purport of an âyat is as follows:
(Real piety is to believe in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Books, the Messengers; to spend, for Allah’s sake, from your dear wealth for your relatives, for orphans, for stranded wayfarers, for those who are obliged to beg, for indentured[mukâtab] servants, (and for captives); to perform namâz, to pay the zakât, to fulfill covenants and to be patient in times of adversity, illness, and war.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara 177]

In this âyat-i karîma, the essentials that make humans attain spirutal maturity are highlighted clearly. These are: a steadfast faith, doing goodness, helping others, and purification of nafs. People who possess these mentioned qualities are characterized by righteousness and praised for their piety, depending on their belief and creed. Our Master the Prophet declared, “He who acts upon the essentials revealed in this âyat will have a perfect faith” (Tibyan).

A person who abstains from harâms and who performs acts of worships has a perfect faith. If a person who constantly performs acts of worship worries that his/her belief may be undermined and thinks that (s)he has many sins and that namâzes will not rescue him/her, this comes to mean that (s)he has a strong faith. (Bazzâziyya)

Some hadîth-i sharîfs on this subject are as follows:
(He who has the following three traits has a perfect faith: good morals that make him get on well with everyone, warâ that prevents him from committing harâms, and softness that cloaks his ignorance.) [Nasâî]

(The îmân of these three persons has reached perfectness:
1. He who clings to the path of Allah without ever fearing anybody’s condemnation,
2. He who does not stain his deeds with ostentation,
3. He who prefers, between two deeds, the one relating to the next world over the one relating to this world.)

(He who does the following has a perfect faith:
1. Loving and feeling hostility for the sake of Allah,
2. Mentioning Allah with the tongue as well,
3. Wishing for others what you love for yourself,
4. Not wishing for others what you do not love for yourself,
5. Talking beneficially. If not, remaining silent.) 

(The faith of a person loving whom he loves for only Allah’s sake is perfect.) 

(The faith of a person who loves the friends of Allah and who considers His enemies as enemies is perfect.) 
[Abû Dâwud]

(The faith of a person who dispenses favors is perfect.) [I. Ahmad]

(The Mu’min with perfect faith is the one with good morals.)[Tabarânî, Daylamî]

(Not to forget Allahu ta’âlâ no matter where one is indicates the existence of a perfect faith.) [Bayhaqî]

(He who loves Allah and His Messenger more than all else, who loves another for the sake of Allah only and who fears reverting to disbelief much more than being thrown into the Fire has a perfect faith.) [Bukhârî]

(A person will not have a perfect faith as long as he does not regard adversities as blessings; comfort and abundance as adversities.) [Tabarânî]

(He who is unfaithful towards the trusts is not a person with a perfect faith.) [Tabarânî]

(A person whose neighbors do not feel secure from his mischief is not a person with a perfect faith.) [Bazzâr]

How to strengthen our îmân?
 What can we do to strengthen our îmân?
There are many things which make our îmân stronger and make us relish the flavor of it.
Let us list some of them:
1. To have good morals,
2. To remember Allahu ta’âlâ all the time,
3. To have ikhlâs,
4. To be generous,
5. To be subjected to many great troubles beyond one’s control (for a pious person),
6. To abstain from harâms,
7. To fear falling into disbelief very much,
8. To love whom you love for the sake of Allah; not to love whom you do not love for the sake of Allah,
9. To be pious,
10. To attach much importance to namâz.

Some hadîth-i sharîfs on this issue are as follows:
(Reading the Qur’ân and remembering 
(dhikr) Allah strengthen îmân.) [Daylamî]

(He who does not fear anybody’s condemnation in conduct he does for the sake of Allah, who does his deeds with ikhlâs, and who prefers a deed relating to the next world over a deed relating to this world has a strong îmân.) 

(The severest adversity is inflicted upon the prophets, awliyâ and the like. A person undergoes troubles to a degree depending on the strength of his îmân. If his îmân is firm, his troubles will be severer; but if his îmân is weak, then they will be less severe.) 

(The îmân of a generous Muslim is strong.) [Daylamî]

(He who does not look at harâms because of his fear of Allah gets the taste of îmân.) [Tabarânî, Hâkim]

(Three things intensify the flavor of îmân: loving Allah and His Prophet more than everything else; loving for the sake of Allah a Muslim who does not love you; and not loving the enemies of Allah.) [Tabarânî]

(He who feels happy upon doing goodness and who feels sorry upon committing a sin has îmân.) [Tabarânî]

One who repeats the following prayer often during the mornings and evenings is protected from disbelief and one’s îmân strengthens:

(Allâhumma inni a‘ûdhu bika min an-ushrika bika shay-an wa ana a’lamu wa astaghfiru-ka li-mâ lâ-a’lamu innaka anta ‘allâmul-guyûb.) [I. Ahmad]